Fitness & Nutrition in Ramadan
With the start of the upcoming fasting month, it's essential to maintain your health and fitness during Ramadan. To achieve this goal, you can adhere to some straightforward tips that can help you stay healthy and fit throughout the holy month.
What is the ideal time to work out during Ramadan?
During the holy month, a lot of people still maintain their exercise routine. However, there is no universal approach that would work for everyone as people react differently to fasting and have unique family and work obligations. Hence, it is crucial to identify what suits you and your lifestyle the most, whether it is preferable to work out before eating or after consuming a light meal. It is imperative to make a personalized plan that suits your needs.
While it may seem difficult at first, exercising in a fasted state can become enjoyable once your body adapts to it after a few days. The low insulin levels during fasting stimulate the production of neurotransmitters, enhancing focus and workout intensity while efficiently utilizing stored fats. In addition, fasted exercise improves nutrient partitioning, as the body craves nutrients after a day of fasting and training. Carbohydrates will be stored as muscle glycogen, and proteins will go to repairing and growing damaged muscle fibers. This approach also allows for socializing after Iftar and adequate sleep.
It is recommended to exercise after breaking your fast, as many individuals tend to feel more motivated and energized to work out after eating. During this time, there are higher levels of glucose and amino acids circulating in the bloodstream, which makes the body more conducive to supporting high-volume training. Incorporating more workouts can help burn more calories and promote muscle hypertrophy. To get the most out of your workouts, plan your schedule and activities ahead of time, opting for exercises with light to moderate intensity that are comfortable for your fitness level, particularly when exercising while in a fasted state.
What about intensity?
It is advisable to refrain from starting a new exercise routine during Ramadan. It would be better to wait until after Ramadan to start a new exercise regime. In case you are not used to exercising, it is recommended to keep the movement light. Intensive training should not be taken up when you are not hydrated and adequately fueled. It might not be enjoyable, and for sustainability, the exercise regimen should be something you would want to continue doing. It is best to avoid high-intensity exercises that raise the pulse rate above 150bpm, particularly when you have yet to break the fast. Instead, it is recommended to do slow or moderate exercises such as brisk walks, slow jogging, cycling, and light machine exercises at the gym. Keep the heart rate low, and focus on maintaining endurance throughout the month without self-judgment.
What if I lose motivation?
One of the most common concerns we receive is that people tend to lose their motivation to exercise during Ramadan due to fasting which leaves them feeling tired and weak. However, it is important to note that this is more of a psychological challenge than a physical one. If you can overcome the mental hurdle and ignore negative thoughts, you will find it easier to get back into your fitness routine. It is crucial to keep things in perspective and remember that Ramadan is not a time to diet, but rather a time to stay healthy. It is not the time to strive for personal bests or to get in the best physical shape of your life. It is important to be kind to yourself, not push yourself too hard, and get enough rest.
Will I lose mass or gain weight?
When it comes to Ramadan, it's important to be practical and understand that changes to your lifestyle will likely affect your fitness levels. However, maintaining consistency in your training routine and consuming a balanced diet that is rich in protein can help prevent significant muscle mass loss. It's crucial to remember that the primary goal of fasting during Ramadan is for a greater purpose and losing a bit of muscle mass should not be the main focus. It's crucial to avoid approaching Iftar as a reward and indulging in feasting behaviors, as it could lead to weight gain. Furthermore, consuming sugary and high-fat foods when breaking the fast could also result in weight gain. Sticking to a consistent training and healthy eating regimen can help prevent significant weight gain during Ramadan.
Best foods to consume
It is advisable to consume dates during fasting as they are enriched with potassium that is beneficial for the proper functioning of your nerves and muscles. Dates also play a significant role in keeping your sugar levels balanced, which can be a challenging task in the initial days of fasting. To maintain your energy levels, it is recommended that you focus on consuming nutritious and colorful foods. Opt for complex, fibrous, and slow-release carbohydrates like beans, lentils, quinoa, sweet potatoes, or whole-grain rice as they take a longer time to digest, releasing energy slowly, and stabilizing your blood sugar level. Consume foods with slow energy release to reduce hunger pangs between meals and keep you going throughout the day, such as high-fiber foods, oats, and whole grains.
It is advisable to refrain from consuming unhealthy, fried, fatty and junk food during the fasting period. To maintain proper hydration levels and energy throughout the day, it is recommended to avoid processed foods containing high amounts of salt. During the time between Iftar and Suhoor, it is essential to drink plenty of water, but it is advisable to do so gradually and not to overindulge. Aim for approximately 2.5 litres of water per day and make sure to rehydrate sensibly until you begin your fast again. If you plan to exercise after breaking your fast, it is best to sip water during and after your workout to stay hydrated.
If you've been away from your regular workout routine for 30 days, you may think that your strength and fitness have declined, but that's not necessarily true. You may need to make some minor adjustments to match your current abilities, but getting back on track shouldn't be too difficult if you've been consistently active during your absence. This is a common occurrence and can be easily remedied.
Get in touch with our team of expert trainers and nutritionists who are available in-house to provide guidance on exercise and nutrition during the Ramadan season. Our professionals are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the best advice possible, so you can make the most of your Ramadan experience!